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(b Lisbon, 1437; d Venice, 1508). Philosopher and biblical exegete. His writing on music forms the introduction to his commentary on Exodus xv (the ‘Song of the Sea’, 1505; I-Rvat Rossiano 925, also printed in Venice in 1579). Relying on earlier sources including Ibn Rushd's commentary on Aristotle's Poetics and Moses ibn Tibbon's commentary on the Song of Solomon, Abrabanel describes three kinds of verse set to music: with metre and rhyme, as in Hebrew hymns (piyyutim); without metre or rhyme, yet arranged in a succession of short and long lines (as in the ‘Song of the Sea’); and metaphorical texts, by which he appears to refer to Psalms. Whereas, for him, the first and third kinds do not require music to qualify as poetry (prosodic considerations prevail in the first, conceptual ones in the third), the second kind does (its construction depends on its musical usage). Yet all three kinds rely on music for their usual mode of presentation. The author recognizes different functions for music in conjunction with poetry: to serve as a mnemonic device for retaining the texts, to improve the understanding of their content, and to elevate the spirit....

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(b c1435; d after 1504). Italian philosopher and biblical exegete. He wrote briefly on music in his Ḥesheq shelomoh (‘Solomon's desire’), a commentary on the Song of Solomon, written during the period 1488–92 at the request of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. Music is discussed in relation to Hebrew poetics, then classified for its varieties and described for its powers. Under poetics, Alemanno notes that the word shir (‘song’) applies to poetry and music and, within music, to both vocal and instrumental types; he then discerns its usage in three species of poetry: metric and rhymed; non-metric and non-rhymed; and metaphorical. In accordance with the Latin music theorists Alemanno recognizes three kinds of music: natural, artificial and theoretical; the first two refer respectively to vocal and instrumental music and the third (nigun sikhli) to what other Hebrew theorists designate as ḥokhmat ha-musiqah (‘the science of music’). On the effect of music, Alemanno notes its power to awaken love on both earthly (or secular) and divine (or sacred) planes, which correspond to what he conceives as the two exegetical planes – the literal and the allegorical – for interpreting the ...

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Don Harrán

(b Cesena, 1515; d Padua, 1611). Italian grammarian, poet and rabbi. He refers to music in his treatise on Hebrew grammar, ‘Arugat ha-bosem’ (‘Bed of spices’), which survives in both a manuscript ( GB-Lbl Add.27011) and a printed source (Venice, 1602). Subjects of special relevance to music include accentuation, metres and poetical forms. Under accentuation, Archivolti describes the biblical accents (ta‘amei ha-miqra), or melodic formulae used in cantillating the scriptures for marking the syntax and word stresses. Their purpose is to elucidate and embellish the text, thus increasing its hold on the soul. Referring to poetry, Archivolti draws a sharp distinction between the biblical (prose or psalmodic) texts for cantillation and the metric poetry for singing piyyutim, or post-biblical sacred hymns. His preference is for cantillation, which he calls ‘excellent music’ (ha-nigun ha-meshuba ), for it is adapted to the words in their structure and content. By comparison, the music for ...

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Pier Paolo Scattolin

(b Bologna, between 1536 and 1539; d Bologna, probably on Dec 22, 1613). Italian composer and singer. He was a Minorite and was of Jewish origin. He is first heard of at Padua, where documents (in I-Pca ) show that on 2 May 1567 he was employed by the Cappella del Santo as a singer; this appointment was reconfirmed on 7 May 1569. He then moved to Bologna as maestro di cappella at the church of S Francesco and lived in the monastery attached to it. His presence there is sporadically documented between 1573 and 1590. A document dated 30 November 1591 registers his discharge from the monastery because ‘he had taken no pleasure in his service’. It also states that during his absences from Bologna he was active at Iesi, Faenza and Ripatransone (near S Benedetto del Tronto). By 26 October 1594 he was back at Bologna, but only in ...

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Don Harrán

[Civita, Davit ]

(fl 1616). Italian composer. He was one of only a few Jewish composers of art music in the 16th and early 17th centuries. It is not clear whether the name Civita refers to his place of birth (Cividale) or his surname, although the latter seems more probable. He appears to have had connections with Mantua and may have lived there. This assumption is supported by the dedication of his only publication, Premitie armoniche (Venice, 1616; ed. D. Harrán, Fragmenta polyphonica judaica, Jerusalem, forthcoming), to the Duke of Mantua, Francesco Gonzaga, and the presence in Mantua of several other Civitas, possibly from the same family, as well as by an archival document that records the death of his daughter, aged six, in 1630. Civita’s name does not, however, appear in court registers. Civita wrote in the dedication to Premitie armoniche that he composed the work while still ‘a young man of little intelligence’. The collection consists of 17 three-voice madrigals, similar in style to canzonettas, but with continuo. Eight works set texts by Ansaldo Cebà, Guarini, Marino, Tasso and Rinuccini....

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(fl Mantua, c1577–93). Italian harpist. He was one of a small number of Jewish musicians active in Mantua in the late 16th century. He appears to have been the grandson of Abramo dall’Arpa (not his nephew, as sometimes claimed) and, as his name implies, to have excelled as a harpist. His service for the Mantuan court may be dated from about 1577 to 1593. His name appears on payrolls from 1577 and 1580, though as Abramo. In 1587 he participated in a ‘water music’ entertainment to mark the baptism of a newborn member of the ducal family. In the same year, he accompanied the ill-disposed Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga to Goito, where he comforted him with his playing. In his Trattato dell’arte (1584), the poet and painter Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo referred to Abramino, his grandfather Abramo and Giovanni Leonardo dall’Arpa (from Naples, d 1602) as the three most prominent harp players of their time....

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Don Harrán

(d 1566). Italian musician. From his name it can be assumed that he excelled as a harpist. He is probably identifiable with the moneylender Abraham Levi, a prominent member of the Mantuan Jewish community. In 1542 he participated in a dramatic production at the Mantuan court, playing the part of Pan. He appears to have served the court under Duke Guglielmo in the 1550s and 60s. About ...

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Véronique Roelvink

Gheerken, Gerit, Gerrit, Gerryt, Gheeraert, Geerhart, Gerard, Gerart],[die Hondt]

(fl 1521–47). South Netherlandish composer, born in Bruges, probably around 1495. He was the son of the Bruges tegheldecker (roofer/tiler) Jacob de Hondt, who originated from a family of Bruges city roofers, living in the parish of St Jacob. We have no information on Gheerkin’s musical education, in Bruges or elsewhere. The first trace of Gheerkin de Hondt as zangmeester is found in the archives of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, where he became coraelmeester on 3 June 1521. He left the church in 1523, and returned for the period from 1 August 1530 to March 1532. On 13 July 1532 he is mentioned as zangmeester of his home church St Jacob in Bruges, where he served until the end of 1539. On 31 December 1539 he received his first payment as zangmeester of the Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap (‘Confraternity of Our Illustrious Lady’) in ’s-Hertogenbosch, a joint position with the chapter of the church of St Jan, for which he had probably already applied in ...

Article

Isabel Pope

revised by Tess Knighton

[Fermoselle, Juan de]

(b Salamanca, July 12, 1468; d León, late 1529 or early 1530). Spanish poet, dramatist and composer. He was born Juan de Fermoselle in Salamanca, where his father was a shoemaker; it has been suggested that he was of Jewish descent. One of at least seven children, he, like several of his brothers, pursued a career that brought him into contact with the higher echelons of society. Diego de Fermoselle was professor of music at Salamanca University from 1479 until 1522, and may well have taught his younger brother. Juan became a choirboy in the cathedral in 1484, where another of his brothers, Miguel, was a chaplain. By 1490, when he, too, briefly held a chaplaincy at Salamanca Cathedral (a position he was forced to resign as he was not ordained), he had adopted the name Juan del Encina, probably his matronymic, but also perhaps a conscious reference to the Castilian holm oak as well as the ilex of Virgil’s bucolic poetry which clearly exerted considerable influence over him. He would have coincided with the great Spanish humanist Antonio de Nebrija at Salamanca, where he studied law probably between ...

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(fl 1539–47). South Netherlandish composer. The only biographical information about him comes from the account books of the Confraternity of Our Lady in 's-Hertogenbosch. He emigrated from Bruges in 1539, having been engaged by the brotherhood in September, and began his official duties as choirmaster on 31 December. He held the post until ...

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Don Harrán

(Messer Leon )

(b Mantua, 1470; d Salonika [now Thessaloniki], 1526). Rabbi, philosopher. He was the son of the scholar Judah Messer Leon. David refers to music, briefly, in his treatise Sheva ḥ ha-nashim (‘Praise of women’), a commentary on Proverbs xxxi. Acknowledging the wonders of music in ancient Israel, he praises the skills of the Levites and the power of music to awaken prophecy. It is not enough to sing, rather the singer must be well trained and have a sweet voice. Song is intrinsic to life’s activities: King David is said to have sung to God at all times, in sickness and in health. The author explains the origins of the term selah as a combination of the syllables sol and la. In the course of his exposition, he mentions an earlier work, Abir Ya‘aqov (‘The Cavalier Jacob’), now lost, where he claims to have treated ‘the science of music’ in chapter 7....

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Peter Holman

[de Milano, de Almaliach]

Peter Holman

Family of string players, active in Italy and then England. They were Sephardi Jews, and it is likely that they were expelled from Spain in 1492 and subsequently settled in Milan and Venice. Three individuals ‘de Milano’, Ambrosio, Romano and Alexandro, were among the six string players recruited in Venice for the English court in 1539–40. Romano died in 1542, when the group returned briefly to Italy, and Alexander disappears from records in 1544. Ambrosio or Ambrose, however, remained and founded a dynasty whose members served in the court violin consort up to the Civil War. In addition to those discussed separately below there were Horatio (bap. London, 5 Nov 1583; bur. London, 23 Oct 1626), son of (3) Joseph and brother of (4) Thomas (i); and Thomas (ii) (bap. London, 7 June 1577; d 1647–60), son of (2) Peter. It is not yet clear how several other musical Lupos were related to them. Francis Franz[oon] Lupo founded an instrument making dynasty in Amsterdam that included his son Pieter and the Kleynman family of violin makers, while Andrew Lupo stated he was a musician of St Giles Cripplegate, London when he made his will on ...

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Don Harrán

(b c1530; d 1590). Rabbi and exegete . Music is treated at length in his sermon Higayon be-khinor (‘Strummings/Meditations on the Lyre’; ed. and Ger. trans. H. Schmueli, Tel Aviv, 1953), the first of 52 sermons in the collection Nefutsot yehudah (‘Judah's Dispersions’; Venice, 1589). In accordance with his belief that the origins of arts and sciences lie in ancient Israel, Moscato traces the beginnings of music to Jubal (not Pythagoras), recognizes the first ‘human’ musician as Moses (not Orpheus), explains the Hebrew origins of musical terms (‘music’ from mezeg, mixture or mood) and finds Hebrew prototypes for musica mundana, or the harmony of the spheres. The main theme pursued in a number of variations is ‘harmony’, which Moscato conceives in cosmic and musical terms. He implies that, in music, ‘harmony’ exists apart from the mode of its composition or realization: thus, by implication, harmony comprises monophony and polyphony, composed and improvised music, vocal and instrumental practices (‘and they will sing to the Lord with a lyre, with a lyre and a singing voice’). Since harmony is perfection, and perfection is consonance, Moscato develops the idea of the octave in its musical and spiritual applications: the octave as a perfect interval is paralleled by the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Simḥat Torah), marking the end of the annual reading of the Torah and its renewal; the study of Torah is the eighth science (beyond the ...

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Robert Stevenson

(bc 1515; d ?Toledo, 1579). Spanish organist of Jewish descent. He served as assistant to the blind Francisco Sacedo, who was principal organist of Toledo Cathedral from 22 January 1541 until his death shortly before 7 August 1547. Peñalosa, who had by then become a priest in the Toledo diocese, was elected his successor on 31 December 1549. From 30 June 1552 he had to divide his stipend with another organist Francisco López. Peñalosa applied 11 years later for the post of organist of Palencia Cathedral, which had become vacant on the death of Francisco de Soto in summer 1563. On 5 January 1564 the Palencia chapter dismissed him, since he seemed to be attempting to seek double employment with the Toledo and Palencia chapters. Apparently he remained at Toledo until 1579. No relationship to Francisco de Peñalosa has yet been discovered, nor do any of his compositions survive....

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Peter Holman

In 

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(b 1542; d Mantua, 1612). Italian Jewish physician and writer on Hebrew antiquities. He discussed music, at great length, in his final work Shil ṭei ha-gibborim (‘Shields of Heroes’; Mantua, 1612), in which he glorified the ancient Temple, its architecture, its liturgy and its music. Ten of the 90 chapters are devoted to music. Portaleone conceived the music of the Levites after Italian Renaissance practices and humanist music theory: thus the discussion turns on polyphony, lute tablatures, contemporary instruments (in analogy to ancient ones, which are described in considerable detail), modes, the doctrine of ethos, simple and compound intervals and the differentiation between consonance and dissonance. He maintained that music in the Temple was a learned art, acquired after a rigorous course of training; it was notated, thus meant to be preserved; its performance was based on written sources. Portaleone acknowledged Judah Moscato as his teacher, although he noted that they conceived music differently: whereas Moscato spoke, generally, of number, harmony and ‘science’, treating music for its cosmological and spiritual connotations, his pupil was concerned with ...

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Iain Fenlon

[Sacerdoti, Davit de]

(b Rovere, fl c1575). Italian composer. He was a member of the thriving Jewish community in 16th-century Mantua which, despite escalating persecution, made vital contributions to the theatrical and musical life at court, particularly in the last 30 years of the century. Sacerdote's first and only known publication, Il primo libro de madrigali a sei voci (Venice, 1575, inc.), is prefaced by an encomiastic sonnet to the composer by Cavaliere Nuvolone, a prominent member of the Accademia degli Invaghiti, founded in Mantua by Cesare Gonzaga in 1562. The volume is dated from Casale on 25 January 1575, and is dedicated to the Marchese del Vasto who seems to have been Sacerdote's patron. It includes settings of one sonnet by Ariosto and four from Petrarch's Canzoniere. Individual madrigals are dedicated to the Duke of Mantua, the Marchese del Vasto, the Prior of Barletta (who was usually a Gonzaga), and to various ladies from distinguished Mantuan families, including Isabella Madrucci. One of the Petrarch texts, ...

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Peter Holman

In